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Screenwriting Broke My Writer’s Block

Screenwriting saves the day

screenwritingI began writing fiction about thirty years ago, unless you count a couple of short novels I wrote back in fourth and sixth grades; those novels would be called fan fiction today, one being about James Bond and the other about Don Pendleton’s character The Executioner, Mack Bolan. But other than those early novels, the first real fiction I wrote was a short story called “Entering Jupiter.” I wrote that story for an astronomy class in college; the professor allowed me to do so instead of writing a paper. Continue reading Screenwriting Broke My Writer’s Block

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Writers: Coping with negative reviews

writers writerDealing with negative reviews

If you are a short story writer or a novelist or even a non-fiction writer, not everyone is going to appreciate your work. In fact, some folks might downright hate it. And a lot of them are very vocal, especially online. They might write reviews on Amazon, or they might write reviews for other Web sites having to do with books, publishing, writing, etc.

Some of the reviews are going to make you angry. Why couldn’t that idiot see the genius of what you were doing? Some reviews might make you sad. Why did that reviewer have to be a meany and hurt your feelings when they don’t even know you?

It happens. The best advice I can give is to get over it. Everyone has their opinions, and not all of them are going to match with yours.

If you’re overly touchy about your writing, don’t even bother reading the reviews. Just stay away from them. If you can hack it, then go ahead and read the reviews, take any positive criticism you can find, remember to put it to work in the future if you can, and move on.

That’s the best thing you can do. Sulking about reviews isn’t going to help get your next story or article written. Crying over reviews is only going to hurt and stilt your potential.

Something to keep in mind, however, is that if you have plenty of reviews, negative and possibly positive, which mention or focus upon a particular matter, then perhaps you should pay attention. Maybe it’s something you need to work on in your writing.

Just remember, human beings often have a capacity to focus on the negative. For every bad review you might receive, there were probably 20 people who liked your story or book just fine, but they didn’t comment. It might seem unfair, but it’s often how life works.

And remember, you can help out others by leaving positive reviews for books and stories you’ve read. What goes around comes around, the old saying goes, and maybe a little of that will come back to you.

One last thing: Always keep in mind that not everything you write is for everyone. For example, if you write in one particular genre, fans of another genre aren’t necessarily going to like your work (though they might). If you write with a particular political, social, intellectual or religious slant, you’re definitely not going to make everyone happy. None of that means you shouldn’t write. It means you just need to be aware of your audience and that you shouldn’t try to make everyone happy.

After all, you can’t make everyone happy, you can’t make everyone love your writing. So don’t focus on the negatives. Instead, focus on becoming a better writer.

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No, I will not write your book for you

write book writersWriters hear it all the time, especially fiction writers. “Hey, I’ve got a story idea for you!” Really? How nice. Often the person with the story idea is only trying to be helpful, but other times they have dollar signs in their eyes. For that second type of person, words to this nature usually soon come spewing forth, “How about I give you the idea, you write it and sell it and we split the profits?” Continue reading No, I will not write your book for you

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Should fiction writers join a writing group?

What is a writing group?

writing groupwriting group is a gathering of people for the purpose of critiquing each other’s writing. This is a fairly common practice among beginning fiction writers, but other writers can learn from it, too. Writing groups can be as small as a few people or they can be as large as 20 or so, but my thinking is anything beyond that becomes unwieldy. Continue reading Should fiction writers join a writing group?

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Improve Your Writing by Forgetting About It

writingYou’ve just finished writing your book or article or poem or what-have-you. You’re ready to plunge into editing and rewriting.

But hold on a second. Unless you’re on a tight deadline, it’s probably best to set aside your recent writing project for a while. Why? So you can come to the words on the page or screen with fresh eyes. Continue reading Improve Your Writing by Forgetting About It

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Free fiction from Ty Johnston

As some of you might know, after 20 years as a newspaper journalist, nowadays I make my living as a fiction writer, mostly in fantasy and horror though I occasionally dip into other genres. Over the last decade or so some of my short stories have become available to read on one website or another, and a number of my shorter e-books are currently free to read. For those who might be interested, I thought I would provide a brief guide along with links to the stories or e-books.

Concerning the e-books, where available I will provide a link to the Amazon page for those of you with a Kindle or who use a Kindle app, but I will also provide a link to a site called Smashwords where you can download the free e-book in whatever format you desire.

Let’s get going.

Free e-books from Ty Johnston

Mage Hunter: Episode 1: Blooded Snow

Mage HunterA hunt for raiding barbarians turns upon the hunters. But far worse is to come for the sleepy villages of northern Ursia and the soldiers who protect the villagers. The Dartague barbarians have had enough of the Ursians encroaching upon their mountainous borders, and the raids are but a feint to draw out soldiers while a much larger attack is in the works. His squad mates slain, Sergeant Guthrie Hackett finds himself alone in the winter wilderness on the border between his homeland and the nation of barbarians. He discovers the Dartague have a new leader, a wyrd woman who is behind the border assault. Worse yet for the sergeant, he has fallen under the attention of an ice witch, an inhuman creature with secret goals of her own. Seeking to survive, Hackett tries to make it back to his own countrymen, only to find there is relatively little safety for him anywhere in the northern regions.

This e-book is serial fiction, the first in a five-part series that tells the tale of Guthrie Hackett and how he comes to learn a few things about himself while trying to survive an approaching war with outlanders. Continue reading Free fiction from Ty Johnston